War Surgery and Medicine
Compared with eczematous conditions, tinea was uncommon. It accounted for a minority of foot eruptions, and was much less common in the groin than non-specific intertrigo. The important practical point is that these conditions are aggravated by fungicidal page 694 applications, whereas the soothing treatment for eczemas does not irritate tinea, and indeed usually benefits it by helping the natural resistance of the skin to overcome the infection. Where microscopic examination does not show fungus, or where microscopes are not at hand, it is safer to treat foot outbreaks, for instance, with soaks of 1:5000 potassium permanganate than to use Whitfield's ointment. In the groin these remarks are especially applicable since tinea cruris is easily confirmed microscopically and the skin in this region is easily irritated.
A possible exception to the above is Castellani's fuchsin paint, a fungicidal preparation which is much milder than one would judge from its formula. It is highly effective as a fungus-killer, and even in non-fungous intertrigos is a valuable measure for the first ten to fourteen days of treatment.
In recent years preparations of higher fatty acids have come into prominence as non-irritating fungicides. These were not developed in time for use in the recent war, but it is certain they will fill a place in tropical dermatology in the future.